...on a sunny Sunday
U16s home to Cambridge
Cambridge were a late replacement for Colchester who couldn’t raise a team for the trip to The Davey Field. Cambridge were very much up for this match, a chance to take the scalp of the newly crowned county champions on a sunny Sunday was too great an opportunity for them. Shelford started poorly and played into Cambridge’s hands. First, taking the man out off the ball at the kick off, conceding a penalty, then, despite getting the put in at a scrum from the resulting lineout, not concentrating and allowing Cambridge to push them off their own ball. It was error after error from the Peacocks in the opening phases. Cambridge pinned Shelford into the corner and from a lineout a catch and drive, then switch outside, resulted in a try in the corner. Cambridge leading 0 – 5 after 10 min. That didn’t serve to wake Shelford up and the game continued in the same vein for the following phases. Shelford then forgot how to tackle allowing Cambridge in under the posts, a shocking conversion attempt went under the bar leaving the score at 0 – 10 on 18 min. Most of Shelford’s problems were at the breakdown where the expectation was that the ball would just come back without either the ball carrier working on the floor, or the supporting players clearing Cambridge jacklers away. As a result, there was no continuity and self-inflicted pressure. When the boys did start to look after the ball they made Cambridge pay. James Groser crashing over for Shelford’s first score and Jack Biard converting. Shelford back in the game with the score 7 – 10 at 25 min and the score at the end of the half.
The second half started the same way the first did, Shelford not looking after the ball anywhere near well enough and Cambridge taking advantage scoring just to the right of the posts and converting 7 – 17 after 50 mins. This time conceding a score did wake Shelford up and they started to look after the ball for longer periods of time. The pressure of having to defend multiple phases took its toll on Cambridge and Jordan Barnes found the space on the left flank to fend off then outpace the cover to score in the corner. Jack Biard then showed Cambridge the value of kicking conversions with a brilliant effort form the touch line, 14 – 17 after 56 min. Fourteen min remaining and all to play for. Shelford now did not want to lose and threw everything into the match, Cambridge defended brilliantly and any opportunity they got, turned defence into attack taking the ball back at Shelford. With only a minute remaining, Shelford were back into attack, the forwards driving tight to within a metre of the Cambridge line, then when another drive looked on, Ollie Jury popped up to take the ball hard at the defence slightly wider out and forced his way over. Another great conversion attempt was just wide, but Shelford held the lead for the first time in the match, 19 – 17 with only seconds remaining. Cambridge chased the restart hard, forcing a Shelford error, but the ball didn’t emerge from the next ruck and the ref signalled the end of the game to Shelford’s immense relief.
Shelford squad, Forwards: Jake Brown, Kai Land, Toby Carmichael, Olly Calvey, Morgan Pierce, Finn Priddle (captain), Oscar Bayley, Alex Lloyd, Nathan Oram, James Groser (1 try), Zain Tariq, Pim Remijn, George Symonds, Dom Steggall, Backs: Robert Armer, James Fraser, Jack Biard (2 conversions), Josh Edmondson, Ollie Jury (1 try), George Crissall, Joe MacMullen, Scott Hawthorne, Jordan Barnes (1try), Ed Jarmann, Kallum Mullhall